Stephen Merchant has opened up about his role as programmer Frans Balder in The Girl in the Spider's Web, which also starred Claire Foy as the heroine, Lisbeth Salander. The Logan star admitted that he was embarrassed during filming with Claire, as his character had to hide while the Hollywood star, who played the Queen in the first two series of The Crown, fought the bad guys without him.
Joking about the awkward situation, he said: "I only wanted to do [the film] because there was an action element and I was very excited to be tackling an assassin in a fight scene. When we filmed it, the director just wanted me to cower in the corner while someone else fought the killer. I'm six foot seven, the assassin was six foot five and the person fighting the assassin was Claire Foy from The Crown who is just over five feet tall. I am all for empowering women, but there is nothing more humiliating being an Englishman cowering in a corner while the Queen kicks someone's arse!"
Claire recently opened up about passing the torch of playing the Queen onto Olivia Colman, explaining: "It's been a year and half ago since we finished [The Crown]. I do miss everybody but it goes on. I hear amazing things. Olivia is loving it I think and is having an amazing time. I genuinely think that when it starts people will say, 'Who was it that played it before?'" Speaking about taking on the iconic role of Lisbeth after leaving The Crown, she added: "Originally I thought, 'Not on your nelly!' Not because of the contrast, which would have been extreme anyway, but it was more the fact that two other actresses have played the character to great acclaim and, because it is such a loved set of novels, you are going into it thinking you can only lose."
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